Reporting on Child Sexual Exploitation in Turkey: HPC Fellow, Maud Ballez, ECPAT

Maud Ballez is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow working with ECPAT International. At ECPAT International, Maud developed her skills in legal research by drafting a comprehensive report on the sexual exploitation of children, helping to further ECPAT International's mission. Read on to learn about her placement as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow.

Throughout my academic studies, I developed a keen interest in human rights matters. Two topics were of the utmost importance to me: refugee’s rights and children’s rights. Therefore, for my first step in my professional career, I knew I wanted to work for an organisation with a purpose and goal close to my heart. I had come across ECPAT International on several occasions and was following their work from a distance. When graduating from my Master of Laws at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, I saw there was an open position for a Legal Research Intern. I jumped on the opportunity and applied. No more than two months later, I was packing my bags to move to Bangkok and start an incredible fellowship experience at ECPAT International!

My fellowship experience at ECPAT has been both challenging and rewarding on many levels. It has allowed me to get better acquainted with the field of sexual exploitation of children and to better understand ECPAT’s work towards this issue. More than ever, it has made me realize how fundamental and important the work of NGOs is, if we want to strive towards better societies.

On a more practical level, my work at ECPAT has considerably enhanced my organizational skills, by teaching me how to multitask and successfully work in a fast-moving environment. It has also allowed me to develop my skills in legal research and writing. My main tasks were indeed twofold. I was first tasked with the drafting of short reports, destined to different human rights bodies. I then had the opportunity to research the legal systems of different countries, such as Chile, Madagascar, New Zealand, and The Gambia, regarding child sexual exploitation.

My second main task was to draft a comprehensive report on the scale, scope and context of the sexual exploitation of children in a specific country – or as we called it internally, a “Country Overview.” The country my research colleague and I were assigned was Turkey. Thus, for months, I researched the legal situation of child sexual exploitation in Turkey. Writing this report proved to be a lengthy and challenging process. Finding information was not always straightforward due to language barriers, a lack of published official data, and political reasons. Thankfully, we could count on the help and assistance of our local member in Turkey. Thanks to their collaboration, not only could we access unpublished information, we could also receive first-hand intelligence of the situation on the ground.

Today, the report is in its final stage. We are making final edits and preparing for the launch that will take place in Ankara, in March 2020. Looking back on the whole process, I am proud of the work accomplished and can only hope it will help improve the situation of children in Turkey.

I am thankful to the Hilton Prize Coalition for having given me the opportunity to work with ECPAT International and be part of such an important work!

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contactprizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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